Our comfort zone is a place we can go to and find solace and not have to worry about the bigger things in life that might scare us, hit us with a shot of fear, and allow us to live peacefully in a little bubble. Our comfort zone is like those old beat up pajamas that are tattered and worn, comfortable, but absolutely hideous. To everyone else with working eyeballs, the pajamas are an eyesore, and serve absolutely no purpose. We’ve convinced ourselves that we need those pajamas to be comfortable and get a good nights sleep. We have fooled our minds into believing this kind of thing. Until we find a way to move past our comfort zone and take a leap into the unknown to break out of our comfort zones, we will find ourselves sinking in quicksand.
For us to reach our greatest levels of achievement, it’s important for us to reach a level called “Optimal Anxiety.” For many, just seeing the word ‘anxiety’ makes the heart beat a little faster, and a flushed feeling begins to overtake the body. In this case a bit of anxiety is a good thing. In 1908, two psychologists named Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson conducted a study that found that we need a relative state of anxiety for us to reach our maximum performance. However, it’s important for us to understand that we do not want to go too far and find ourselves in extreme anxiety, otherwise we will be too stressed to be productive, and our performance will actually decline.
By taking a step outside of your comfort zone, you will find that you become more productive, and this sense of subtle anxiety will actually propel you forward to bigger and better things. Without feeling that anxiety, we tend to phone in our performance and fall back on our fears, which ultimately leads to poor production and an ongoing bout with procrastination. By pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone, it’s easier for us to find our groove, and learn to work smarter than we ever did while stuck in our safe places.
How to Break Free From Your Comfort Zone
Without oversimplifying it, the best way to break out of your comfort zone is to ACT! Of course, you want to be wise in your decisions, but the longer you analyze and go through every possible situation in your head, the greater the possibility is that you remain in your comfort zone. Learn to be different! Stop listening to the thousands of little voices in your head and go for it. Be brave and be confident in your decisions. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Ford is also known for his ideas of reaching decisions quickly and confidently, and changing slowly. Begin to implement change in your life, whether it’s taking a different route to work, changing your coffee order, or saying hello to different people.
It’s Okay to Visit Your Comfort Zone
If you find yourself stepping outside of your comfort zone so often that it just becomes the norm, you will fall into the same habits as you had previously experienced. The goal is to keep the level anxiety just outside of your comfort zone, so it’s important to mix things up. Continue to push yourself, but don’t lose sight of where your true comfort zone is. You can use that spot as a guide, and it will give you direction.
Steps for Today:
- Write down your daily routine. What does your average day look like? Become aware of where your comfort zone is. If you don’t have a firm grasp on what and where your comfort zone currently is, you will not know what is needed to break free from it.
- Start slow, but start! Do something different and break your routine. Change your breakfast order, wake up at a different time, and do something that make you feel a slight discomfort.
- Be strong and confident in your decisions. Believe in yourself and believe in the decisions you make. If you don’t believe it, how do you expect others to believe it?